Arrivals & Departures: Colenso creative duo return from the Big Apple

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New York-based Kiwis Beth O’Brien and Thomas Darlow are returning to New Zealand to take creative group head roles at Colenso BBDO.

O’Brien returns to Colenso after a successful stint in New York as an associate creative director at R/GA and Droga5, where she and her American partner created high profile work.

During the last election, The New York Times and Forbes Magazine labelled their Role Models spot for Hillary Clinton “a masterpiece of political advertising” and a “Hall of Fame-level” ad.

O’Brien has won over 40 national and international awards, including New Zealand’s only ever a Black Pencil for K9FM, which she made at Colenso before leaving to the States.

Thomas Darlow returns from five years at R/GA NY. His We Are America campaign has been viewed over 120 million times, and is up for an Emmy at this year’s awards. And his last year’s Mamba Day campaign for Nike was said to be one of the most successful shoe launches ever.

The campaigns picked up five Lions at Cannes, and made Darlow one-half of the R/GA network’s most awarded team globally.

‘Genuinely humbled’
“I’m stoked to return to the Colenso BBDO family,” O’Brien said. “Colenso is an immensely special place. It’s full of uniquely talented people, who work tirelessly to push the boat out on what’s possible. The creative department, lead by Wortho and Levi, has all the hallmarks of a true operational studio, which I love to bits.

“There really is no agency like it. I can’t wait to get back, have a beer with the team, and get stuck in.”

Darlow said: “I’m frothing to get weird with the industry’s best.”

Colenso chief creative officer Levi Slavin – another recent returnee from New York City – said: “Thom and Beth are absolutely world class. We’re thrilled and genuinely humbled to have them with us.”

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